Melanie Finn Recommends...

“When I’m working on a book, I’m intensely focused and disciplined. I start at nine in the morning, turn off the internet, and work through until two in the afternoon. What that work looks like, however, also involves lying on my daybed and staring into space or nodding off on my keyboard so I wake with six pages of cccccccccccccccvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvbbbbbbbbbbbbb. As a kid on long car journeys—those long ago, pre-device days in which parents (oh my god) did not keep children supplied with endless snacks and water and the radio was only AM, if it worked at all—I’d stare out the window for hours, daydreaming about horses. I’d design jumping courses and stables in intricate detail, the names for each horse, the color of their halters, and their specific characteristics. I believe we miss that kind of bland mental expanse, our minds so crammed with lists and noise and yapping. Napping is like tundra—limitless, silent—and in that space I nearly always find answers, or more particularly, the right questions. Because for me, writer’s block is nearly always a question of plot, something I’m trying to make a character do that’s inauthentic. While drifting, I can move out and above, and see the bigger issues, the errors in my work further back or lurking in some too thinly plotted corner. This deeply relaxed state is just as important as the more frenetic writing itself. I no longer feel guilty about it. I just have to make sure to rub out the keyboard marks on my forehead before getting to work.”
—Melanie Finn, author of The Hare (Two Dollar Radio, 2021)